Sinclair Brighton Series SB 3600T Loudspeakers [AIG Archives]

      Date posted: July 11, 2008

Sinclair BrightonSinclair Brighton Series SB 3600T
Sugg. Retail: $799 pr
Size: 43.3″H x 8″W x 15.7″D
Designer/Distributor: Sinclair Audio, Erikson
Consumer Division, JAM Industries, 21,000 Trans
Canada Hwy, Baie D’Urfe, QC H9X 4B7 (514)
457-2555 FAX 457-5507

From the Spring 2006 Audio Ideas Guide

Sinclair is a relatively new name in speakers, developed in Canada by Erikson Consumer, who also distribute Harman/Kardon, AKG, and several other brands, including Sirius satellite radio receivers and accessories and numerous iPod-related items. The speakers are designed in Canada, and manufactured in China to Sinclair’s exacting specifications.

The finish on our review pair was a Beech vinyl, but all subsequent production has been in high-gloss black, which will probably appeal to most buyers anyway, especially at this price level. That’s perhaps the first good news. But more on that below. What I really want to talk about is the technology brought to bear on this Sinclair speaker design.

The 3600T is an 8-ohm design with a rated sensitivity of 92 dB, quite efficient, and able to handle 250 watts of power (rms or peak not specified). Part of these latter specs are explained by the 3 6 1/2″ woofer/midrange drivers, which are crossed over to a 1″ “polymer Integrated Soft Dome” tweeter, according to the spec sheet. It is called a 3-way speaker, but crossover points are not provided, the 3 bass main drivers appearing to be identical, with a phase plug at centre, and a white cone.
Sinclair Brighton Tweeter
The company has more to say about this driver, however: “The Sinclair Woven Fiberglass Hybrid is a new cone material designed for tremendous bass response. Fiberglass possesses a wonderful strength to weight ratio, making it light enough to react quickly for a tight response, yet strong enough to maintain it’s [sic] shape during challenging passages so it’s free of unwanted distortion. Fiberglass is processed, woven, and finally formed into the desired shape and fitted to a natural fiber backing…” “All Woven Fibreglass Hybrid cones in the series are also equipped with a true phase plug. This is an important acoustic benefit because the sound wave created by a speaker at the edges of the cone trails the wave from the centre by a miniscule amount of time. Adding the phase plug to the driver slows down the the wave from the center so it’s transmitted at the same time as the wave from the edge. The phase plug also eliminates the need for a dust cap which in turn reduces cone mass, permitting extended frequency response. It allows more airflow through the motor structure, which improves cooling and thus increases power handling.”

I must say that the above paragraph embodies just about the best explanation of the function of a phase plug I’ve read, and its attendant additional benefits.

Another technology found in the Brighton and its sibling, the 2600T is called “DALtech: “Distortion occurs when a speaker resonates from the speaker’s own energy, discoloring the desired sound and resulting in reduced sound quality. DALtech, which stands for Dead As Lead Technology, eliminates this distortion with the placement of DALtech acoustic damping material to strategic parts of the speaker cabinet, capturing and absorbing the unwanted resonances for pure, untainted speaker reproduction.”

Now, I wouldn’t exactly call this breakthrough technology, but it is welcome in a speaker in the under $1000 price class, especially one this large, with lots of panel space to vibrate. A knuckle test shows the rear and top panels to be freer of resonance than the tall wide sides. I had to visit the web site to gain insight into the tweeter design: “The Sinclair Audio Polymer Integrated Soft Dome tweeter feature[s] strong magnets, ferrofluid and thermal protection to handle high power and maintain wonderful high frequency clarity. The tweeter sits in a faceplate that has been shaped and contoured to spread high frequencies horizontally throughout the listening area to guarantee great sound from anywhere in the room.” Sinclair Brighton Frequency Response

And I suppose claims like this bring us right to the measurements of the 3600T. Looking at our on-axis pink noise sweep at top, we see very smooth and extended response that suggests a crossover to the tweeter somewhere between 1500 and 2500 Hz, probably closer to the former frequency, with a quite smooth transition.

Another signature is the mildly rising response between about 400 Hz and just above 1500, showing quite strong midband energy from the driver trio. If this is, in fact, a 3-way design, limiting the upper response of at least one of the woofers a little more might smoothen things out; it could also be that the combined response of the trio tends to add on axis in the lower mids, and the 2-way 2600T might be flatter.

Looking at the 4 measurements below, we see that the smoothest is either right on axis, or at 60 degrees off axis, the curves in the middle (15 and 30 degrees) tending to emphasize the mild hump more. Treble response slopes smoothly as we move off axis, but is strong to about 12 kHz until 60 degrees. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we find very extended and smooth bass, down about 3dB at 100 Hz relative to the slightly elevated 1 kHz, but very smooth going down, within a dB of that at 100 Hz at 40, and off just under 2 dB at 30 Hz, with appreciable response right down to 20 Hz. The smoothness and extension of these well engineered low frequency drivers is evident here, and very unusual in a speaker at this price.

Sinclair Brighton Impedence

Moving to the impedance/phase chart, we see very linear impedance, with a pair of typical ported peaks at 30 and 60 Hz, with quite astonishing smoothness across the rest of the range, hovering around 7 to 8 ohms. This will be a very easy load to drive, which, combined with its high sensitivity, will require only a few watts. But they should be good ones to achieve the quality and depth of bass of which these speakers are capable. The electrical phase also predicts easy, low distortion performance, being very linear across the band, particularly through the crossover region.

Listening notes suggest that the speakers sound best when toed in toward the listener where the frequency response is best balanced in the midrange and treble. In the lower octaves I heard “outstanding bass performance, rivaling the Quad, especially the deepest bass”, and “female voice shows the mid prominence”, or “orchestra sounds good, with sweet strings, the brass a bit blatty.”

The Brightons were very powerful with pop and folk music, and showed their strengths here, where most often depth and soundstage were not big issues. I listened to some vintage Sandy Denny with pleasure, as well as B, S & T, the Brightons portraying David Clayton- Thomas’s vocals as up front and powerful.

The SB 3600Ts are excellent high fidelity reproducers for under $1000, with the advantages of strong, accurate bass, good articulation, and a clarity that seldom comes at this price point. Looks and fit and finish are also exceptional.

Andrew Marshall

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4 Responses to “Sinclair Brighton Series SB 3600T Loudspeakers [AIG Archives]”

  1. George d. c-unknown Says:

    Just read your article on these and it was very good to hear a professional reviewers opinion on these budget monitors. I actually have the latest model of these towers, the Sinclair Audio Brighton BT36. The new model actually has improved drivers for the midrange and tweeter. In fact, the midrange is now different from the lower frequency drivers, which was not the case in the earlier model reviewed here. I heard them side by side and the new model that I have sounds even better. Prices tend to be very negotiable, as well, since the brand is not yet well known. I would be interested in seeing your review on the new model I have. Thanks again for the article.

  2. Denys Picard c-unknown Says:

    Too much enthusiasm by Canadian hifi critics over this product. It is definitely still far away of the big leagues.
    I have just tried a pair of SB2600t, with center SB250C and bookshelf SB150s.

    The MSRP of the kit was about 1050 when it originally sold.

    As much as chauvinism and complacency is concerned, Canadian audio journalists, in abandoning discipline and becoming an extra arm of the marketing department, we can only get bad products conceptualized in Canada. It is the case for these speakers if critics pretend to include them besides names such as Bowers and Wilkins, Tannoy, Missions etc…This is an entry level speaker set and this mostly because of its lower quality components.

    The SB2600t are rated at 200 watts (maybe peak but certainly not RMS). Over 75 watts these speakers lose control, the tweeter suffers so much that it detaches acoustically from the unit. If rattles with a hush. The speakers sensitivity is rated at 92dB at 1 watt. Well I have some B&W dm602 S2 rated at 89db and they must be 2 db more efficient at equivalent low volume.

    The response is expressed as 40 Hz to 20kHz +/- 3dB.I don’t think so. They must loose close to 12 db once they get down to 40 Hz.

    But this is not the most important. What really matters for a speaker is its capacity to reproduce sounds faithfully. It is called sound imagery. This requires components that have a high degree of precision, an very quick response time, that are not volatile in response. The SB2600 have somewhat achieve acoustical imagery in a very narrow range, 250 Hz to 3500 kHz. Anything below 250 becomes vague. So they may give good imagery for voice, wind instruments, instruments that do not have strong low frequency harmonics, or that are not too complex as opposed to string instruments. Therefore, these speakers do not pass the test of natural instruments reproduction such as classical music instruments. They lack power atr low frequencies, they don’t have any drive under 100 hertz for harmonic sound. But they are very powerful at reproducing noise, sound effects etc…But put a low pipe organ tone, and you loose all driving power.

    And therefore they cannot pretend to be part of the hifi class of speakers. These speakers may be good for popular music, TV shows, DVDs and movies and those form of entertainments. I am not being snob but realistic. I have them for my family/dinning/Kitchen area where I have my TV set and listen to music while cooking and the likes. They will be fine their. But I keep my B&W’s and I really want to listen to my music (which you have guested is classical most of the time).

    But if you are a classical music listener and have gotten used to good instrument imagery, forget about these unless you listen to them at very modest volume as back ground music.

    I am not angry so much with Sinclair which is making efforts to bring improvements. This sure is better than any Infinity speakers I have listened too. I noticed the fabric woven woofers inspired by the Kevlar woven woofers that B&W introduced 10 years before (I am afraid of imagining what the Sinclair’s with aluminum woofers sounded like).

    The real problem I have is with Canadian hifi critics loosing sight and objectivity when it comes to Canadian products. It’s sadly a general trend in this country. Journalists confounding propaganda with journalism, believing that everything is relative and only a question of marketing. You are not serving the Canadian consumer right. I was satisfied buying a Canadian conceived product, I was thinking maybe I would be positively surprised (get a bit more then I paid for); I was not. I got what I paid for and I would have never paid these units at the MSRP asking price. I got these as well maintained units at a fair second hand price, so I am not angry about the purchase itself, but I would expect a bit more realism from Canadian hifi critics.

    I won’t let any Canadian manufacturing patriotism guide any of my future purchases, I can guarantee you that. (In fact the Sinclair are made in China, conceived in Canada).

  3. Andrew Marshall c-unknown Says:

    Hi Denys,

    Thank you for your heartfelt but ultimately misguided blanket condemnation of Canadian, and by implication, other speaker reviewers. In our case at AIG, we do provide measurements, which allow the reader some measure of evaluation on his own, and I try to, both individually and cumulatively, explain and interpret them for all technically inclined or sufficiently sophisticated readers. The shown measurements were quite respectable for these speakers, though showing some midrange prominence and lack of extreme treble extension.

    That you decided to do what amounts to a destruction-style test of the Sinclairs is your choice: you bought them! But then you complain about their fragility compared to your “B&W dm602 S2″ speakers, though I doubt you applied the same rigour to testing these. Regardless of whether you did or not, to apply this experience to my reviews and those of others of Canadian made or designed speakers is an excessively broad brush of condemnation of both reviewers and speakers generally, which I maintain after 30 years of just my own testing and reviewing loudspeakers, is wholly unjustified and unsupportable with respect to both my own work evaluating hundreds of speakers, and that of other reputable, technically expert writers who are also experienced audio engineers.

    In my case, I have worked in speaker design, and am a Life Member of the international Audio Engineering Society (AES), thereby recognized by my peers for my work in this field. Perhaps the fact that you managed to detach a tweeter diaphragm is more a comment on your use of the product than its design and durability. There are quite inexpensive more efficient, or sensitive speakers with better power handling than the Sinclairs, to be sure, from such manufacturers as Klipsch or JBL, made for both home and PA use, and can suit the needs of headbanger listeners who like their music LOUD. I don’t believe the Sinclair brand was intended for such a market, though I see no need to otherwise defend it.

    Finally, I respect your attempts to express yourself in your second language, and your meaning does come through. But to use your quite specific and unscientific experience with a single product is no excuse to give yourself a platform to vilify all responsible reviewers and credible products based on your entirely subjective and scientifically unsupported abuse of an admitted budget audio product. That your comments can be so easily refuted and shown for what they are is the only reason I have allowed them to stand as an appendix to the review.

  4. N8 c-ca Says:

    This page, top to bottom was one of the best reads I’ve encountered whilst browsing “speaker reviews”. Love the comments..thoroughly. BTW, I’m thinking about buying these (plus the center) 2nd hand.

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